GOP Group’s Goal: Get Minorities to the Hill

James Hohmann, Politico, February 18, 2013

A nonprofit launching this week aims to get more conservative minority staffers on the Hill and to help them climb the ladder once they’ve arrived.

The group, called Insight, will start an internship program to help students of color get placed in Republican offices, host professional development events and provide networking opportunities.

Former Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) will chair the initiative, which also plans to host an ongoing series of public policy forums on issues that affect ethnic minorities. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) will host the first event, on post-prison re-entry programs, in March.

Insight, organizing as a 501(c)4, will start with a full-time staff of one, but organizers outlined big plans for fundraising and expansion. {snip}

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Watts, who chaired the Republican Conference during his four terms in the House and now runs his own consulting business, reviewed his party’s pathetic performance with Hispanics and African-Americans in the November elections.

“You’re probably going to always have that challenge until you get people that look like me in the trenches,” he said.

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Five Republican senators have signed on as honorary co-chairmen: Scott of South Carolina, Portman, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Jeff Sessions of Alabama.

So have eight House members: Runyan, Steve Chabot of Ohio, Spencer Bachus of Alabama, Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, Tom Cole of Oklahoma, Jack Kingston of Georgia and Scott Rigell and Randy Forbes of Virginia.

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